Man eating kebab on bench among 50 people fined in NSW and Victoria for violating coronavirus laws

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Michael McGowan and Ben Smee, The Guardian Australia, 3 April, 2020.

Concern that police crackdown to tackle public health emergency will disproportionately affect vulnerable people

Eating a kebab on a bench, washing car windscreens at an intersection or sitting in a stationary car – these are just some of the reasons more than 50 people have been fined by police in New South Wales and Victoria for violating new coronavirus laws.

Sweeping new laws introduced to slow the number of people infected with the virus have reshaped Australian society in the past fortnight, imposing an unprecedented crackdown on public movement and curtailing civil liberties.

But while governments and police agencies say the laws are necessary given the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus, justice advocates warn the laws could have damaging consequences for traditionally over-policed communities.

Thanks to a string of public health orders issued by health ministers across Australia, police in most states now have the power to fine or arrest people caught gathering in groups of more than two or for being outside of their homes without a “reasonable excuse”.

Read the full article here…

Have you been stopped by police or had any interaction with police regarding COVID?

This collaborative project aims to document incidents, reports, and examples from members of the public concerning COVID-19 policing, for use in monitoring and reporting, as well as legal advocacy and accountability. It is run by a group of legal and human rights advocacy organisations, backed up by a network of policing academics with a coordinator in each state.
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